The top 300 widely used drug brands will have Quick Response (QR) codes to ensure authenticity and traceability of drugs, according to the Union Department of Health which amended the Medicines Rules of 1945 to put implement the innovative program.
In March, the ministry had asked the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to shortlist drug brands that could be included for the implementation of mandatory QR codes.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has identified the top 300 drugs used for QR codes, including painkillers, vitamins, diabetes and high blood pressure drugs.
The industry has welcomed the measures to introduce QR codes on widely used medicines, which will help prevent counterfeit medicines which have become a threat in recent years and also help ordinary citizens to collect accurate information on medicines. that they use.
“We welcome the government’s decision to start only with the top 300 brands, as this will allow the ecosystem to grow before it expands to the whole sector,” said Nishant Berlia, chairman of the committee of pharmaceutical manufacturing, PHDCCI. However, he also highlighted some challenges for program implementation.
There are three challenges, he said, the first to implement QR printing is significant change control in the manufacturing process and requires time to roll out. Secondly, there should be cost escalation allowed for small and medium manufacturers who manufacture cheaper but small batch sizes and conversely will have a higher implementation cost per batch.
“Third, the availability and affordability of computer systems at the last mile distribution level in our country means that many of the most at-risk meters will be slow to participate without subsidies or subsidies,” said the chairman of the committee of pharmaceutical manufacturing.
“Counterfeit medicines have recently emerged as a global threat and QR codes for medicine security can greatly assist in the management of counterfeit medicines and the proper administration of medicines to patients. Medicine packaging now comes with codes QR offer transparency on the manufacturing process, drug content and expiry date,” said Nikkhil K Masurkar, Executive Director, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals.
He added that QR codes can even enable better monitoring of data by a pharmaceutical company. “It is certainly a welcome move by the government that will soon make the QR code mandatory on the 300 medicine pack. The medicine packs that come with a unique QR code, will help trace the source and affirm the authenticity of the products” , he added. .